At this time of year, you likely receive many requests for donations. Would you add Lazarus Rising to your list if you have not been a supporter, or if you have not already given this year? To those of you who have already sent donations, we are sincerely grateful. Lazarus Rising is a small charity, and while our needs are small, we must raise the salary of our Street Pastor. It would be reassuring to start 2016 with a solid financial base. We are also most appreciative of donors who have set up regular monthly donations through their banks. Mennonite Central Committee Ontario supports Lazarus Rising with administration expenses, and several churches supported us in their budget this year, and we are grateful for this support. Donations can be made by following the link at the bottom of this page.
Through November and early December this year the weather has been mild. Does that make it better for our friends who spend much of their time on the street? Happily, there has been no news yet of anyone frozen to death, but with the temperature hovering damply around zero Celsius, most of us would not wish to try surviving on the street. Many downtown overnight shelters were full each night by the end of October. The “Out of the Cold” programs in York Region and Toronto started up at the beginning of November and will run through to the end of March. The winter Out of the Cold shelters are popular, offering variety to street life, with friendly volunteers and good meals. But whether it’s a winter shelter, or one of the year-round hostels, life has to be structured around getting to the appropriate shelter each night, and lining up for each service. The shelter lifestyle consumes much of a person’s time and energy.
Some people found work over the summer and have saved enough money to rent a room. They would need first and last month’s rent as a down payment. If they qualify for Ontario Works government benefits, a single person receives up to $376 a month toward rent, along with $305 for food, transportation, clothing, and other basic needs. (Note: a $25 a month increase was recently announced). New total: $706 a month or $8,472 a year. What about a Metropass to get around by bus and subway? At $1,557 a year for transit, $576.25 a month remains for rent, food, clothing, and anything else! Some do manage this, and plan ahead for a return to employment and a more comfortable life. Free meals help, both for the food and also for companionship. Many people who have been on the street find life in a small room very lonely.
Lazarus Rising’s Street Pastor works year-round with street-involved people. Lazarus Rising is partnered with Sanctuary Ministries, which provides a community-oriented spot for drop-in activities and services. As well, outreach workers like our own Street Pastor go out on the streets to seek out people who need assistance or even just a friendly ear. Pray for those who minister, and those on the street who are lonely or homeless.
Exciting news from Lazarus Rising!
Yes, there is exciting news: Street Pastor Aylish Chantler and her husband Alex MacLeod are expecting a baby this spring!
Aylish and Alex married the summer before Aylish began work with Lazarus Rising. They met at university: Aylish grew up in Oakville and Alex in Nova Scotia. Alex has a theology degree and presently works at the Salvation Army’s Gateway shelter. Pray for Aylish and Alex as they plan life as a family! Pray also for Aylish who has experienced bouts of nausea throughout her pregnancy.
What of the future of Lazarus Rising while Aylish is on maternity leave? Our ministry will continue: street outreach, assisting with the drop-in programs at Sanctuary, friendly encouragement, assistance with paperwork or appointments, visits in the hospital. As you can imagine, it is not easy to find a fully-trained Street Pastor for just one year. The staff team at Sanctuary have some ideas for temporary replacements. By the next Lazarus Rising newsletter, we will have the details for you.